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Keeping it Real With Jamie Carragher: Stevie Needs to Attack, Lucas Needs to Defend

Jamie Carragher is full of opinions lately, and his latest musings involve the tactical shift Brendan Rodgers needs to make in his midfield. Spoiler alert: it involves using Steven Gerrard anywhere but as a DM.

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So many abstract questions in life, so little time! How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? How do you keep a wave upon the sand? How do you solve a problem like Steven Gerrard? It's a question Brendan Rodgers has struggled to answer for some time, and while there are a variety of options to choose from, Rodgers has single-mindedly stuck with using his captain as a defensive midfielder.

It's a choice that has perplexed many a fan, and now even former players are calling out Rodgers' use of Gerrard in that role. Jamie Carragher, former teammate and former deputy of Stevie's, has joined the chorus asking why — quite bluntly! — Rodgers persists in a tactical choice that isn't working and isn't improving.

"I think Steven is [giving his manager a problem at the moment]," Carragher said during his spot on Monday Night Football. "Why is Steven Gerrard in that role? He isn’t a [Javier] Mascherano and he isn’t a [Dietmar] Hamann, who played in front of me. They were not interested in getting a ball. That was Stevie and [Xabi] Alonso’s job when they played alongside those players.

"Stevie’s role is to get on that ball. The reason he has become so important to Liverpool over the past six months is because teams are man marking him. So they’re nullifying him slightly."

If Carragher means "important" in the sense that a DM getting marked out of a game has an adverse effect on the defense and thus helps increase the number of goals conceded, then, yes, that's an important thing to look at. His solution is one that others have suggested in the past, but one that Brendan Rodgers seems unwilling to try for the long term: move Gerrard into a more attacking position.

"When you look at [the DM] position," Carragher explained, "they may be better off putting someone else there, in terms of a Lucas who will think defensively. This team needs protection. Steven isn’t a great protector of the defense. He isn’t a Hamann or a Mascherano. Put a defensive player there and help the defense get the clean sheet. Maybe put Stevie further forward to help with the creativity."

Carra linked Stevie's previous attacking success to having an understanding with the club's main striker; while Gerrard may have had an unspoken connection with Michael Owen, Fernando Torres, or Luis Suarez, it's not a relationship he's formed yet with Liverpool's three remaining relatively fit strikers Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini, and Rickie Lambert.

It's an odd suggestion to move the captain forward in order to connect with those he has no connection with, but perhaps optimism that he could connect with them given the opportunity outweighs the status quo at the moment. And after strong performance against Real Madrid in Champions League, anything that helps Lucas get another shot in the side will be a silver lining to the Gerrard challenge for many.

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